Thursday, May 02, 2013

General Renee Montagne leads NPR charge to war on Syria

Violence continues with National Iraqi News Agency noting a Karbala bombing which claimed the life of 1 police officer and left two more injured, and Kirkuk Province police chief "Jamal Taher Bakr escaped an assassination attempt by an explosive device."

Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports the United Nations have released their figures for the month of April: 712 people killed in violence and 1,633 left injured.  Basing it on their own figures, the UN declares last month to have been the most deadly in Iraq in five years.

Former US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker has a column about the crises in Iraq at the Washington Post.

Today the Committee to Protect Journalists released its 2013 Impunity Index.  Topping the list?  The envelope please . . .


Iraq has the world’s worst record on impunity. No convictions have been obtained in 93 journalist slayings in the past decade. The vast majority of the victims, 95 percent, were local journalists. They include freelance cameraman Tahrir Kadhim Jawad, who was killed on assignment outside Baghdad in 2010 when a bomb attached to his car exploded. Jawad was a “courageous cameraman” known for getting footage “where others had failed,” Mohammad al-Jamili, Baghdad bureau chief for the U.S. government-funded outlet Al-Hurra, said at the time. Police opened an investigation but made no arrests.
Impunity Index Rating: 2.818 unsolved journalist murders per million inhabitants
Last year: Ranked 1st with a rating of 2.906

The last entry focused on Guantanamo and was supposed to focus on Guantanamo and Syria but there wasn't room so we're bringing it in here.

Syria is the war the press is itching for.  They're horny little teenagers who've been promised it for years and are getting really anxious. They're so desperate to sell it that they really need help, professional help.

There's no lie they won't tell.  Renee Montagne has disgraced herself repeatedly this week including yesterday's 'conversation' with Kelley McEvers about US 'options' (war, for Renee).  Renee declared, "As someone who has reported on the ground there in Syria, on the civil war --"

No, Kelly McEvers was a megaphone for the rebels and what they told her over the phone.  Her Syrian reporting for NPR was marked by the fact that she was in Lebanon at the time.

It was also marked by the fact that NPR allowed to cry on air when rebels were killed -- to cry in recorded reports.

That's not reporting. That's a stunt.  That's a lie. That's whoring, but it's not reporting.

That wasn't Renee's worst performance this week.  If you can stream, you need to stream this Tuesday segment.  Reading the transcript will not convey the hostility Renee showed the guest.  Pay attention especially at the start when Renee doesn't get what she wants and listen to her tone on the words I'm italicizing.

MONTAGNE: Now, the administration has effectively put off action by saying that they want more evidence. How strong is the evidence of chemical weapons?

MALLEY: Well, obviously it's hard for me to say. I know from talking not only to administration officials but officials from European and other countries, many of whom have a strong suspicion that Syria has used chemical weapons, that we're still not quite at the point where they could make a conclusive case.
 And I think it's understandable, certainly in the case of the United States, to have a pretty high threshold. First, it's always hard to establish such claims, particularly when you're at a distance. Unfortunately, Syria is not allowing U.N. inspectors to go and check whether chemical weapons were used. So all of this was done on the basis of samples and of samples of blood or of soil and all that...

MONTAGNE: Right. But...

 MALLEY: not entirely reliable.

MONTAGNE: Let me just very briefly, though, what is being said about this? I mean, how people are supposedly killed or affected by the chemical weapons? I mean just very briefly.

MALLEY: I don't think people know. You can't know when you're at a distance. You have allegations from opposition members but you don't have any hard evidence. There's a lot of - there's a lot of evidence that something has happened and from what I understand, people are pretty confident that chemical weapons are used. But that's not enough at this point to trigger action.

MONTAGNE: OK. So some lawmakers, as we've said, have called for a military intervention of some kind, maybe establishing a no-fly zone or targeted air strikes. Are these options viable?

I'm sorry.  Was the International Crisis Group's Robert Malley an invited guest on a public affairs program or was he a witness being cross-examined in front of the jury?

That segment was an embarrassment.  He wasn't enough of a War Hawk for Renee so she went to town on him.  That's disgusting.

You know what else is disgusting?

We don't get Iraq coverage.  We get Syrian 'coverage' that mentions Iraq.

"UN Faces ghost of Iraq in evaluating chemical weapons use in Syria" (Washington Post), "Iraq haunts Syria choices - White House in a bind" (POLITICO, we don't link to it),  Colum Lynch's Washington Post column syndicated everywhere including the New Hampshire Register,  "Syria and the Ghost of Iraq" (The New Yorker), and we can go on and on.

If you talk to the ridiculous press, they will insist that it's about humanity and it's about life and death and they just can't stay silent.

Funny thing though, a sit-in in Hawija was attacked just last week.  At least 50 people were killed.  If that had happened in Syria you'd see it all over the place.  It happened in Iraq.  And it was Nouri al-Maliki who ordered the massacre.

If these people really gave a damn about 'humanity,' they wouldn't be tossing out Iraq as an aside now in their drama about Syria, they'd be covering the massacre.

They don't.

They lie to themselves and pretend that it's about caring.  It's not about caring.  It's about the news cycle, it's about making a name for themselves, it's about a lot of things but caring isn't among them.

Iraq just had, according to the United Nations, its most violent month in five years.

But these outlets don't cover Iraq anymore.

The most violent in five years and there's no one in Iraq for NPR, for the Washington Post, for The New Yorker, etc., etc. They don't care.

They need to be confronted with that because a few of them, if confronted, would take a hard look at themselves.

Renee Montagne needs to take a real hard look at herself.  Neither she nor NPR is supposed to be in the business of selling war.

Renee embarrassed herself with her whoring.  Over and over, she tried to sell war.  It was left to Robert Malley to be the voice of caution -- note to Renee: that's supposed to be you, the journalist providing caution.

Instead it was Malley trying to calm down Renee's cries for war with, "The question is whether they would have a positive impact in Syria and whether they serve U.S. national interests."  And having to repeat himself in his next response, "And again, the question is whether it ought to."

The International Crisis Group is considered a respected source.  We were asked repeatedly to quote it and cite it in the early years of this site.  That wasn't just from friends, that was they repeatedly wrote the public e-mail account about this or that.

But back then, there was Iraq coverage and we didn't need them so since I consider them war-like, I had no interest.  These days we're not so picky because there's so little coverage.

But that's how bad it is.  The International Crisis Group is the voice of caution, appearing on NPR and trying to calm down a journalist (Renee Montagne) itching for war.

The press should not be allowed to sell another war for any number of reasons but the most basic reason is they haven't finished covering the last war they sold (Iraq) where the people continue to suffer.

They ignore Iraq for a reason and that's bubbled up in the last month with all their "Iraq" pieces.  Is the reality of Iraq keeping Americans from supporting war on Syria?  (Last night, Jason Ditz noted at the latest Reuters poll finds only 10% of support among Americans for war on Syria with 61% opposed.)

It might be.  So they don't want the news of Iraq on the TV screens or blaring from your radio or on the front page of your newspaper.  They abandon Iraq because telling what's really happening there goes to what war really does.  Iraq is not any better.  Even the press is bored with their own lying so now they just avoid the topic all together while whining that, just maybe, if weren't for Iraq they could have war on Syria before Memorial Day.

Joseph Kishore (WSWS) reports today on the selling of war on Syria:

Referring to entirely unsubstantiated charges of chemical weapons used by the Syrian government, Obama declared this a “game changer.” Why? Because “we have established international law and international norms that say when you use these kinds of weapons, you have the potential of killing massive numbers of people in the most inhumane way possible…”
Words can hardly describe the level of hypocrisy in this sanctimonious declaration. They come from the head of a government and military that has unleashed violence all over the world and is guilty of the most brazen violations of international law.
This applies first of all to the Syrian operation itself. In the same press conference, Obama acknowledged that “from the beginning” the aim of the US has been to unseat the government of Bashar al-Assad. “We have worked to strengthen the opposition,” he added. “We have provided nonlethal assistance to the opposition.”
He went on to say that the administration has “asked the Pentagon, our military, our intelligence officials” to prepare a “spectrum of options.” Media reports based on comments from administration officials after the press conference reported that the US is moving toward providing “lethal weaponry” to the “rebels.” The US military has already moved to establish a base in northern Jordan, on the Syrian border, with the aim of bringing in 20,000 US troops.
At the same time, in the course of its intervention in Syria, the United States and its allies in Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been funneling weapons to Islamist fundamentalist forces associated with Al Qaeda, who have launched an increasingly deadly campaign of terrorist bombings. This includes a car bomb in Damascus on the day of Obama’s press conference, which killed at least 14 people.
The Obama administration has carried out a systematic campaign to incite a civil war with the explicit aim of bringing down the government of Syria, and it is now actively planning military intervention for this same purpose.
It is testament to the degenerate state of the media that it occurred to none of the assembled journalists to note that all of this is in flagrant violation of the basic principles of the United Nations Charter, which prohibits “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”

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